Rediscovering Our Passion For Selling

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Can you remember your first job in sales?

Your first sales call?

The first sale you ever made?

Can you still remember how it felt- as if it were just yesterday-despite the years or even decades that may have since passed?

I will admit that I had almost forgotten.  For some time I had failed to remember just how good it felt in that first moment when I fully realized that I was starting an opportunity with unlimited potential.  One where I was the engine of my success, the one who determined my own pay by my own effort, and the one who could give me a raise anytime I asked in exchange for a little improvement and some extra effort.

That was an incredible feeling which even when I think about it now,  from the distance of many years, it makes me feel fortunate that I took that first opportunity to join the profession of selling, and that I made the career that I have from it.

But something happened along the way,  between the start of that first opportunity and where I am today, that made me loose sight of the unique opportunity represented by a career in selling.  Not completely and not all the time, but often enough that I no longer had the same bright enthusiasm that I started with.  I suspect that I am not unique in this.  I had lost track of the larger context, of the infinite possibilities that selling offers, and instead found myself dwelling too often on the daily grind.  My perspective had changed from the large picture exuberance of those early days when the grind was only a minor detail along the way to the outstanding outcomes that selling afforded, to a much narrowed view where the large picture became the minor detail and the unpleasant details the primary focus.

I was reminded of all those things I had forgotten and the perspective I had lost in small pieces along the way this past week when I had the opportunity to teach a sales seminar to what was at the time the newest direct sales team in the country.

Let me explain.

The group I had the privileged of teaching, was until the day before, a group of order-takers.  I say that as a compliment, as their skill and dedication merits, and without a hint of the usual low regard that salespeople assign to anyone who takes orders rather than sells orders.

But starting on that day they were no longer order takers.  The company had just announced that their phone representatives would now be compensated on sales performance rather than for the time they spent on the phone taking orders.  In that instant they all had become professional salespeople, a role that they had never intended, and one that they were mostly unfamiliar with.

This is not the usual audience for my training.  I most commonly work with groups that challenge me to resolve the old conflict between old dogs and new tricks and not with those that are receiving their very first introduction to selling.

My preparation for this session, to be held over two days on location in the heart of rural Kansas, brought me back to those original feelings that I had about selling when it was first introduced to me.  This was a place my mind had not been in some time, and that was what was missing from my own relationship will selling.

Through the first look at professional selling from the perspective of those eager and receptive students I was able to see again, as if for the first time, all of the joy that selling had for me when I first started–  The feeling of empowerment and control over my own future, the smoldering possibilities that I could come to realize through my own effort and development, the prospect of making an extraordinary income and being successful and respected by helping other people solve their problems with my product.

Through their eyes I was able to see beyond the short term difficulties that accompany any career in selling and again see that big picture, because in their inexperience there only was a big picture.  Like me, at some point they will learn of  the challenges of the day to day grind of professional selling, but if they can keep their focus on that big picture, on the outcomes and possibilities, on the goals and motivations, then they will be able to keep the short term travails in the proper perspective.  They will be able to see them merely as obstacles along the path to success that present opportunities to grow, and the events that mark the progress toward the ultimate objective of earning a tremendous income by being of equally tremendous service to those who come to them seeking solutions.

As I told them in parting, ‘now that you are paid what you are worth, and can always learn to be worth more by being better, you can now really start to dream about the possibilities that life can have for you.’  As experienced salespeople, who all to some degree have been troubled by the small frustrations of selling and forgotten some of the reasons that made us fall in love with selling in the first place, we need to remember that this profession truly allows us to dream of better things, and shows us the way to make them happen.

My sincere appreciation for the lessons learned from my friends in Kansas, and may we all be reminded by their perspective of the possibilities, excitement and joy in the profession of selling.

To your ultimate success,

The Sales Giant

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10 Responses to Rediscovering Our Passion For Selling
  1. Doc
    May 31, 2011 | 8:29 am

    Great article. The challenge I have is keeping the big picture solidly in my mind when my manager is pushing the day to day performance. All things require balance and I’m continually having to balance the need to “close,close,close” with the bigger picture of “building, building, building.”

    • The Sales GIANT
      June 5, 2011 | 3:47 am

      I believe that your day to day performance will always be sufficient for you manager if you keep the big picture in mind because by doing so, the day to day will take care of itself.

  2. Ivan
    May 27, 2011 | 7:34 am

    To have my eyes on the bigger picture- ALL THE TIME. is what i dont do most of the time. But its the only way that you can break through the daily challanges that come my way. When the focuss is more on the smaller day to day challenges, we loose focuss on the ultimate goal esecially when it is an industry that eveolves around the relationships that are built between us and the customer.

    • The Sales GIANT
      May 27, 2011 | 9:00 am

      Ivan,

      The bigger picture is what allows us the see the smaller day to day trails as nothing more than step along the way to ultimate goals we have for our career in selling. Thanks for the post.

  3. patrick sullivan
    May 26, 2011 | 4:55 pm

    having lost all due to med bills,wife died of rare disase,left wo,cash,credit,car,or life.knew the only way back is selling a product with a real comm.went to biz by foot to find one,was offered several,but was lies and no pay,learned that no matter the company or what competitiors are saying,you must be true to yourself,selling is an honor.no glory in winning with lies or misreps.we joined the selling ranks to make a difference.

    • The Sales GIANT
      May 27, 2011 | 9:05 am

      Thanks Patrick,

      One can only build a sales career with honesty and integrity. While some people will lie to make a sale, that sales is an incredibly short term gain, and the quickest way to ruin a career in sales.

  4. Steve Waterhouse
    April 5, 2011 | 12:21 pm

    Great article. Getting back to basics will help a lot of remember what made us so successful in the first place.

    • The Sales GIANT
      April 7, 2011 | 1:11 pm

      Thanks Steve,

      It is amazing how much we forget along the way to where we are, especially about the reasons that we love the profession of selling.

      • Klondike
        April 23, 2011 | 12:51 pm

        That’s way more clever than I was exepcting. Thanks!

    • The Sales GIANT
      May 27, 2011 | 8:58 am

      Thanks Steve. The longer you sell the more you realize that it is all about the basics. There is not much beyond that.

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